This deliciously cheesy chicken enchilada recipe with green sauce is stuffed with tender chicken and bathed in a zesty green tomatillo sauce. Corn tortillas make this Tex-Mex favorite gluten-free. Pile on the sour cream, avocado, and limes, taco-style.
Chicken enchilada with green sauce. It’s a little something we just tossed together for supper that we like to think of as the best thing that ever happened to tomatillos. We think you’ll concur. And there’s no slaving over a stove required. Far from it. Originally published March 20, 2015.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Chicken Enchilada With Green Sauce Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- For the green sauce (salsa verde)
- 1 1/2 pounds (700 grams) tomatillos, papery husks removed and tomatillos rinsed and patted dry
- 2 poblano chiles
- 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- For the chicken enchilada filling
- 1 1/2 pounds (750 grams) bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 7 1/2 ounces farmer cheese or Cotija, crumbled
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the assembly
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) canola oil, plus more for the baking dish
- 12 to 16 corn tortillas
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese or pepper Jack cheese
- Sour cream, for serving
- 1 ripe avocado, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch (12 mm) dice, for serving
- Cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)
- Make the green sauce (salsa verde)
- 1. Line a broiler rack or pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Position it about 6 inches (15 centimeters) from the heat source and preheat the broiler.
- 2. Place the tomatillos, chiles, and garlic on the broiler rack. Brush the onion quarters with the oil and place them on the rack. Broil the vegetables until they’re browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the garlic to a plate. Flip the remaining vegetables and continue broiling until the tomatillos turn sort of a drab olive green, the chiles are blackened and blistered, and the onion is singed and tender, about 5 minutes more. Remove from the broiler and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- 3. Using your fingers, remove the stems, skins, and seeds from the chiles and discard. Peel the garlic. Toss the tomatillos, chiles, onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt in a blender and purée until smooth.
- Make the chicken enchilada filling
- 4. Place the chicken in a deep saucepan or a Dutch oven with the smashed garlic and sliced onion. Add the 1 teaspoon salt and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover the saucepan, and gently simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the chicken cool in the pan for 10 minutes. (The chicken should be cooked through.) Remove the chicken breasts from the saucepan and let them cool completely. If desired, reserve the cooking liquid as chicken stock for use in other recipes.
- 5. Remove the meat from the chicken breasts, discarding the skin and bones. Shred the meat and toss it in a bowl. Stir in the farmer cheese, 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the chicken enchilada fixings
- 6. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly oil a 15-by-10-by-2-inch (38-by-25-by-5-cm) baking dish or roasting pan. Spread 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce on the bottom of the dish.
- 7. Heat the 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. One at a time, fry the tortillas, turning to warm each side, just until softened, about 10 seconds per side. Place each tortilla on a paper towel to drain the excess oil, then stack the warmed tortillas on a plate and cover with a clean towel to keep warm. [Editor’s Note: Looking to save a few calories? Use half as much oil.]
- 8. To assemble each chicken enchilada, spoon 2 heaping tablespoons chicken filling on the bottom third of a tortilla, roll it up, and arrange it, seam side down, in the baking dish. Assemble all the enchiladas. They should fit snuggly in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining green enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with the Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve at once, topping each serving with a dollop of sour cream, some diced avocado, and if desired, sprigs of cilantro.
- Cheater’s Chicken Enchilada With Green Sauce
- Substitute 2 to 3 cups cooked, cooled, shredded cooked chicken (leftover grilled or rotisserie chicken works spectacularly!) for the freshly simmered chicken breast and mix it with the farmer or Cotija cheese, green enchilada sauce, and salt and pepper to taste and continue as instructed in the recipe. You can use leftover roast chicken, a rotisserie chicken you grabbed from the grocery store, grilled chicken—whatever you’ve got, it’ll work like a charm.